Monday, May 7, 2018

I Love Mississippi.

Dav Pilkey said it was
a bookmark contest that
first made him think he
could be a successful
Now that it's May and I can breathe again, I'm backtracking to share some of the fabulous April happenings.

First up, Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival at University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS.

I adore this festival! Karen Rowell and Ellen Ruffin and the whole team outdo themselves every single year.

This year it featured Dav Pilkey receiving the Medallion, which was so much fun! Librarians were running all around campus in their superhero capes. :) I particularly enjoyed learning about Dav's challenges as a student. I was also wow-ed by
me and Salina Yoon
Salina Yoon, with whom I happily snapped this selfie in the hallway before her amazing talk. :)

Salina shared about being a "recovering introvert" which had us all laughing. Then she shared how she was a quiet child, much like the Dennis character (who is a mime) in BE A FRIEND.

Salina put on her mime hat and gloves to read the story for us! Magic, I say. Salina also shared her spreadsheets on submissions and acceptances, and wow, was that inspiring! One reason Salina
Storyteller Award winner
Alabamian Wanda Johnson
telling us her 6 favorite words:
"Let me tell you a story."
has so many books is because she has an amazing work ethic. And how creative are her book projects?! She cites toys as a big inspiration for her work. I loved when she shared about how writing picture books was kind of a way to reinvent herself, after a year with the novelty books weren't selling. What a lucky development for children and readers everywhere!

Another thing I loved was hearing old friend and fellow Alabamian (and USM alum!) Ash Parson talk about tropes and archetypes. Love that lady! And it was so much fun to meet and present with new friend Leah Henderson, author of the middle grade novel ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL which happens to be the only current novel set in Senegal.

me and Leah Henderson
Leah and I have so much in common! We shared with attendees our experiences about writing across culture and gave tips on how to proceed, should one feel called to write a story not from one's experiences. It's not for the faint of heart! However... the most important thing any of can do is follow our hearts as we write. For some of us that may mean proceeding into dangerous territory. It helps to meet fellow travelers, I can tell you that!

One of the highlights for me was sharing a table with a bunch of Mississippi librarians who live and work outside Memphis, TN. These ladies were THE BEST! I'm so grateful. I hope to meet up with them again when I travel with a dear friend for a research trip to Graceland later this year.

So much goodness! I'm excited to be traveling again to Mississippi with Charles Waters in August to share CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? at Mississippi Book Festival (Jackson, MS).

Hooray for us! And for Mississippi!

1 comment:

  1. I think you're having too much fun! I'm requesting One Shadow on the Wall now. Love those favorite six words: "Let me tell you a story." Hmm - a research trip to Graceland? I may have to figure out what you're up to with this one.


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